I have always believed that when you are engulfed by disappointment, you have to make a decision to move on. You say, "I don't care how hard this is, I don't care how disappointed I am, I'm going to get through this."
I never wear my emotions on my sleeve. I've found peace by refusing to succumb to the oppression of human sympathy. As young man, I followed the rules laid out by the Marquis de Sade, who wrote that what fools called "humaneness is nothing but a weakness … unknown to those whose character is formed by courage, stoicism and philosophy."
But lately I've been dealing with the gnawing feeling of rejection. Because I've found that writing is liberating, I hope the madness that governs my soul will dissipate as I pen these words to Ms. Kalb, cheer advisor and teacher at LCHS:
My dear Ms. Kalb,
I've always been a bridesmaid, never a bride. My metaphor depicts my disappointment relative to you not selecting me as cheer squad mom for the LCHS freshman team. I've never been soccer, backstage, orchestra, or even a dance mom. When will it be my turn?
Although I've been in jail twice, my credentials are nevertheless impeccable. Kindly disregard the night I drank beer out of my boot at Lucy's Tiger Den in Bangkok. Nobody's perfect.
I was patient; I waited for your call. Instead, you accepted Kaitzer as squad mom. Maybe I'm not as organized as my wife is, but I can spell Mississippi backward. Am I relegated to schlepping kids from practice to home?
So what if I forgot to pick up the girls after practice a few times? Am I only a groupie for my daughters' pursuits? Is that my fate?
Warmest regards, Dr. Joe
Last Friday night the freshman cheer squad, or "Fishies," composed of Allie, Simone, Laura, Carina, Sarah, Katherine, Lauren and Cameron, came over to our house for a team meeting with their newly appointed squad mom, Kaitzer.
Simone slapped a restriction order on me: I was ordered to stay away from the Fishies.
Do my kids think I'm embarrassing?
The girls were exuberant in their new identity. I had not seen such excitement since the Mets won the series in '69. Kaitzer eventually got their attention, and after a considerable length of time, the cheerleaders began to accomplish the tasks at hand.
If I were squad mom, I would have yelled, "Knock it off; you've got two minutes to get this done!"
I wouldn't be worried about the process, but about the pizza getting cold.
Kaitzer couldn't fool me. I knew what she was up to. In her calm, assuring manner, she said, "Girls, let's focus." I was dizzy listening to her, and it wasn't because I ate a whole pizza. Kaitzer is into this psychobabble stuff. She was actually concerned about the children's feelings, participation and disappointments.
She wasn't too concerned about my feelings when I got passed over as squad mom.
She allowed the Fishies to figure out the process for themselves, regardless of time. She explained, "The girls will take the hill according to their parameters. Their greatest lesson would be to learn how to lead themselves."
That's not how I'd do it. I was trained by the severest of taskmasters. The best decisions would be my decisions, and we'd take the hill regardless of feelings.
I did manage to infiltrate their meeting:
"Girls! I'll teach you a cheer I learned in high school: "Rickety rackety ree, hit 'em in the knee; rickety rackety rass, hit em in the other knee!"
The Fishies looked at me as though I had lost my mind.
Kaitzer entered the room, interrupted me, and said, "Joe, since you ate a whole pizza, why don't you go get another one?"
The final dagger in the heart? The new squad mom didn't even put me on the team mailing list.
JOE PUGLIA is a practicing counselor, a professor of education at Glendale Community College and a former officer in the Marines. Reach him at email@example.com.